HAVANA TIMES – Hurricane Ida is about to cross over the Isle of Youth, Cuba and then between the Western provinces of Pinar del Río and Artemisa. Heavy rainfall and coastal sea surges are expected.
It was only yesterday that a watch was sounded and preparations put in place by the Civil Defense authorities. In less than 24 hours the latest storm system to affect Cuba went from a tropical depression to hurricane strength. It had not been initially forecast to increase intensity so rapidly.
Ida is now packing 75 mph winds, enough to cause considerable damage to agriculture and homes of poor construction. At 2 PM Cuban time (ET) the center of the storm was approaching the Isle of Youth and 145 miles from the western tip of Pinar del Río. Its movement speed NW is 15 mph.
A hurricane warning is also in effect for the Province of Artemisa and a tropical storm warning for Havana, Mayabeque and Matanzas.
After Cuba, IDA is forecast to move on a course taking it to the US Gulf Coast possibly as a powerfully Category 3 hurricane.